HC: What’s involved in developing ‘brand you’?
EK: We sit down with the client and go through a fun process called a brand audit. That is, who are you? We look at who you really are, how you want to be perceived, how you think you’re perceived. Most of our clients have forgotten who and what we are – that’s typical of most adults. If you ask a seven year old what their favourite colour is, they will tell you in a second. As adults we think about it and weigh up how we’ll be perceived if we say orange. But just that process makes the client start to think about who they are and what they’re showing the world.
From there we create a personal brand. It looks exactly like a brand proposition would from an ad agency to a corporate. We never say ‘here’s brand Jane Smith’. We come up with brands that mean something to the client. So to take one, it might be brand ‘Lady Danger’. Essentially this is a customised character written about you. Clients will say, if they sit in a meeting, how would Lady Danger respond to this? What would she do? Am I projecting my brand in the right way? What would this character say? It gives them the immediate self-reflection.
Then there’s a description of that brand and a set of values associated with that brand. These are the four things you want people to think of when they meet you.
From there we build a marketing plan, or how we take the brand to market. That includes style – not style as in ‘this is how you should dress if you want to work here’, but style as in if you’re presenting this brand, what does this brand look like? When we work with clients we help them present a visual representation of that brand, because people see you before they hear you. We also look at cyber brand, working with clients on their social media profiles, or assessing whether they want to publish in industry journals, or get involved in forums or blogs depending on what their goals are.
The end of the process is around presence training – how do you build presence and manage your impact in your interactions with people.
HC: If a company brand has a logo, specific fonts, etc, what does a personal brand consist of?
EK: The closest thing you’ve got to a corporate brand’s logo and fonts are the clothes you wear, how you look and how you speak. Not so much what you say; most people can talk the corporate talk – they wouldn’t be where they are if they couldn’t. It’s more about realising what you stand
for rather than what you do. So for example, I’m your go-to guy for creativity and innovation or I’m your go-to for sophisticated strategic development. What does that person look and act like?
We’ll work with some people who aren’t natural marketers of themselves. One of the simplest ways to improve that is to create something that is unique to them. We’ll look at famous people who have mastered the art of having something that is unique to them – take the Masterchef guy who wears a cravat. One client who represented a powerful organisation in Australia wanted to develop her own personal brand. We thought of broaches. She started to wear a broach every day, and each broach had a story. Here was someone who didn’t naturally present herself, and people would now ask her ‘what’s that’ and it would tease out a story.